Meet the new Baylor Bears

Midway safety Ahmad Dixon is ranked No. 3 nationally at his position by ESPN.com and No. 10 by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He made more than 300 tackles in his high school career.

TROY BAKER

Position: Offensive line

Ht/Wt: 6-6/280

School: Connally

Where he fits: An excellent student at Connally, Baker graduated from high school in December and enrolled at Baylor for the spring semester. Baker has the size to compete for playing time in the offensive line immediately, and will get a jump on the freshman class by going through spring drills. Baker was ranked No. 45 nationally among offensive tackles by Rivals.com and was a first-team Super Centex pick by the Tribune-Herald. “Troy has a lot of passion for a player at a high level,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “He’s certainly going to contribute to this program. It’s also a great bonus to have a local player. It’s good for Waco and it’s good for his family and the people who respect Troy.”

LUKE BURLESON

Position: Offensive line

Ht/Wt: 6-5/270

School: Allen

Where he fits: Ranked No. 74 nationally among offensive linemen by ESPN.com and No. 108 by Scout.com. Burleson played offensive tackle as a junior for an Allen squad that won the Class 5A Division I state championship in 2008, and was a starting guard as a senior for a team that finished 10-2. “Luke is a prototypical Big 12 offensive lineman,” Briles said. “He is big and physical and comes from a great high school program. He is exactly what we’re looking for from an offensive lineman.”

TUSWANI COPELAND

Position: Defensive back

Ht/Wt: 6-0/175

School: Lawton (Okla.) MacArthur

Where he fits: Copeland was a two-way player at Lawton MacArthur, but will play defensive back for the Bears. As a senior, Copeland played cornerback and receiver, finishing with 38 catches for 635 yards and 10 touchdowns. Copeland played at Meade High School in Fort Meade, Md., as a junior where he helped his team finish 12-2 after reaching the state finals. As a track athlete, Copeland logged a time of 48.8 seconds in the 400 meters while recording a 22-foot long jump and a 6-6 high jump. “Tuswani is part of an outstanding portion of our recruiting this year, the secondary,” Briles said. “He’s just athletic, he flips his hips quick and understands the game.”

KEDRICK DIAL

Position: Defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-5/215

School: Sulphur Springs

Where he fits: A Class 4A all-state defensive lineman, Dial switched his commitment from Texas Tech after former Red Raiders defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill wasn’t hired as head coach. An exceptional pass rusher, Dial finished his senior year with 12 sacks, 18 tackles for losses and 30 quarterback pressures for a Sulphur Springs team that reached the Class 4A Division II quarterfinals. As a junior in 2008, Dial helped his team win the Class 4A Division II state title. He’s ranked No. 75 nationally among defensive ends by Scout.com. “Kedrick is tall, rangy and can run,” Briles said. “He has a very engaging personality to go along with his outstanding athletic ability.”

AHMAD DIXON

Position: Safety

Ht/Wt: 6-1/200

School: Midway

Where he fits: Rated among the best safeties in the country, Dixon is the most highly touted player in Baylor’s class. Dixon is rated No. 3 nationally among safeties by ESPN.com, No. 10 by Rivals.com and Scout.com. SuperPrep lists him as the No. 2 defensive back nationally, and the second-ranked overall prospect in Texas. Dixon is known for his hard-hitting style of play and is also a dangerous kick returner. He helped Midway reach the Class 4A Division I quarterfinals as a junior with 114 tackles, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. He collected more than 300 tackles in his career.

Dixon originally committed to Texas before switching to Baylor. “Ahmad is ‘from Waco with love’ — that’s the way I look at it,” Briles said. “He’s fast, physical and strong. He brings exactly what you are looking for from a safety position. We’re proud that he stayed home.”

ANTHONY GONZALES

Position: Defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-5/255

School: Blinn College

Where he fits: A big, rangy defensive end, Gonzales should make an immediate impact on Baylor’s defensive line. He was named a NJCAA All-American after a superb sophomore year at Blinn as he collected eight sacks and 13 tackles for losses. Gonzales was a high school teammate of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin at Copperas Cove, and helped the Bulldawgs finish 12-3 and reach the Class 4A Division I state championship game in 2007. “Anthony is a big, strong and physical defensive end that can hopefully come in and provide immediate help,” Briles said.

ANTWAN GOODLEY

Position: Wide receiver

Ht/Wt: 5-10/190

School: Midland

Where he fits: Goodley, a 200-meter runner, will add speed to the receiving corps and is also a game-breaking kick returner. As a Midland senior, Goodley caught 38 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a touchdown and scoring three times on kickoff returns. As a junior, Goodley caught 30 passes for 761 yards and 11 touchdowns while also returning three kicks for scores. He’s ranked No. 73 nationally among receivers by ESPN.com. “Antwan is what we are looking for offensively because he’s a multiposition guy,” Briles said. “He’s a strong, physical guy who can run, and probably has a good chance to win the 200 meters in the state track meet this spring.”

ROBERT T. GRIFFIN

Position: Offensive line

Ht/Wt: 6-6/345

School: Navarro College

Where he fits: With his incredible size and strength, Griffin should challenge immediately for a starting offensive line spot. Griffin — who isn’t related to the Baylor quarterback of the same name — signed in December and is enrolled for the spring semester. He helped Navarro finish 11-1 and place third in the final NJCAA poll in the fall. As a senior at Euless Trinity High School, Griffin was part of a team that finished 15-1 and won the Class 5A Division I state championship in 2007. “Robert is a physical specimen,” Briles said. “He has a great upside and will provide immediate help. We expect him to come in and play and deliver.”

BRYCE HAGER

Position: Linebacker

Ht/Wt: 6-1/210

School: Austin Westlake

Where he fits: The son of former Texas Longhorns All-American and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Britt Hager, Bryce helped Westlake finish 13-3 and reach the Class 5A Division I state title game as a senior. Hager made all-state after recording 158 tackles, including 15 for losses and eight sacks. He also intercepted a pass and collected seven pass breakups. As a fullback used mostly in short yardage situations, Hager rushed for 13 touchdowns. “Bryce comes from an outstanding program and an outstanding bloodline,” Briles said. “He’s a good, solid linebacker that we think has a great upside. I am very excited about him.”

SAM HOLL

Position: Safety

Ht/Wt: 6-1/185

School: Katy

Where he fits: The hard-hitting safety was named the All-Greater Houston defensive player of the year by the Houston Chronicle after helping Katy reach the Class 5A Division II championship game. He collected six interceptions as a senior after finishing his junior year with 178 tackles and an interception. Holl was part of Katy teams that won back-to-back state state titles in 2007-08. His sister, Holly, is a freshman catcher for the Baylor softball team. “Sam knows how to win, how to work and how to prepare to win,” Briles said. “He’s a physical, intelligent and unselfish football player that brings a tough-guy mentality to the table.”

TYRELL JENKINS

Position: Quarterback

Ht/Wt: 6-3/180

School: Henderson

Where he fits: Blessed with a powerful arm and good speed, Jenkins threw for 1,095 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 280 yards and six scores as a senior at Henderson. As a junior, he threw for 1,735 yards and 12 touchdowns. A talented two-sport athlete, Jenkins’ biggest decision will likely be whether he signs a pro baseball contract out of high school. The right-handed pitcher has been clocked at over 90 mph, and is projected to go in the early rounds of the June draft. “As a quarterback, we really think Tyrell has a good upside to him,” Briles said. “It’s going to be fun watching his journey. He’s just scratching the surface on how dynamic he can be as a player.”

EDDIE JOHNSON

Position: Wide receiver

Ht/Wt: 6-3/220

School: Midlothian

Where he fits: Johnson is a big, fast receiver who caught 48 passes for 814 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. He’s rated No. 61 nationally at wide receiver by Scout.com and No. 90 by Rivals.com. As a junior, Johnson caught 45 passes for 613 yards and three scores when he was a teammate of current Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. “Eddie is a big, strong physical receiver,” Briles said. “He’s going to be able to come in here and really develop as a player and a person. We expect great things from him.”

DOMINIQUE JONES

Position: Defensive tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-1/280

School: Midwest City (Okla.)

Where he fits: A highly rated defensive tackle, Jones will fill a big need on the line. He’s ranked No. 46 nationally among defensive tackles by Rivals. com and No. 47 by ESPN.com, and was rated the No. 15 overall recruit in Oklahoma by Rivals.com. Jones made all-state as a senior after collecting 118 tackles, eight sacks and an interception for a touchdown. As a junior, Jones finished with 114 tackles and five sacks. “Dominique is a tough guy inside who really has a lot of ability,” Briles said. “He has a quick twitch and good lateral movement with a little bit of flair imbedded in there.”

PRINCE KENT

Position: Defensive back

Ht/Wt: 6-3/200

School: Hargrave (Va.) Military Acad.

Where he fits: A big defensive back, Kent has a chance to make a quick impact for the Bears after enrolling in January. He signed with the University of Miami out of Norcross (Ga.) High School in 2009, but attended Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy last fall instead. Kent was rated the No. 10 overall prep school recruit nationally by Rivals.com. As a senior in 2008, Kent was rated the No. 5 cornerback nationally by ESPN.com. “We’re really proud that Prince is on campus and we’re ready for him to represent Baylor football,” Briles said. “Prince will have the spring to improve his skills and help us add depth in the secondary.”

CLARENCE LEE

Position: Defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-3/210

School: Jefferson

Where he fits: After originally committing to the University of Houston, Lee switched to Baylor in January. Though he mostly played outside linebacker at Jefferson, Baylor is projecting him as a defensive end. As a senior, Lee finished with 55 tackles, including 11 for losses and six sacks. He also broke up four passes and recovered four fumbles. Lee completed his high school career with 224 tackles, and also saw action on offense at tight end and quarterback. Rivals.com ranked him No. 73 nationally at outside linebacker. “Clarence can be a very physical and fast defensive end for us,” Briles said.

MATT RITCHEY

Position: Linebacker

Ht/Wt: 6-3/215

School: Big Spring

Where he fits: A Class 4A all-state linebacker, Ritchey collected 123 tackles as a senior, including 13 for losses and three sacks. He was ranked No. 70 among outside linebackers nationally by Scout.com and No. 76 by ESPN.com. As a junior, Ritchey finished with 93 tackles with 13 for losses and three sacks. Stepping in at quarterback as a junior after the starter went down with an injury, Ritchey threw for 1,069 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 1,187 yards. “Matt played everything in high school from quarterback to kicker,” Briles said. “He has done a bunch of it and is good all-around. He comes from a football family, and we are really excited about him being part of our football family here.”

T.C. ROBINSON

Position: Defensive back

Ht/Wt: 5-10/175

School: Abilene Cooper

Where he fits: Armed with tremendous speed, Robinson is ranked No. 45 nationally among cornerbacks by Scout.com. Robinson finished his senior year with 40 tackles, 12 pass breakups, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. He was an all-District 4-4A pick in football as a junior and senior, and is also a track standout for Cooper’s 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams and the individual 200 meters. “ T.C. is part of our special defensive back class,” Briles said. “He’s a cornerback that possesses a lot of confidence and ability.”

XAVIER RUBEN

Position: Defensive tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-3/285

School: Baytown Lee

Where he fits: Ranked No. 60 nationally among offensive guards by Scout.com, Ruben was a two-way all-district player on the offensive and defensive lines. Ruben was a teammate of Baylor signee Tim Smith at Baytown Lee. “Xavier is athletic, physical and burns pretty hot,” Briles said. “He’s a guy that will lay it on the table and dare somebody to take it. We really like the physical aspects of his game.”

ROBERT SINGLETARY

Position: Outside linebacker

Ht/Wt: 6-4/210

School: Kingwood

Where he fits: A speedy outside linebacker, Singletary finished his senior year at Kingwood with 95 tackles, two sacks and three fumble recoveries. He’s also played wide receiver and tight end, and plays basketball at Kingwood. His older brother, Mike Singletary, plays for the Texas Tech basketball team. “Robert is very long and athletic,” Briles said. “We think he has a lot of upside at linebacker.”

TIM SMITH

Position: Offensive line

Ht/Wt: 6-4/285

School: Baytown Lee

Where he fits: Smith played on both sides of the line for Baytown Lee, but he’s scheduled to play on the offensive line for the Bears. A two-time second-team all-District 21-5A choice, Scout.com ranked him 82nd nationally among offensive guards. “Another prototypical offensive lineman — strong, physical powerful and mean,” Briles said. “Tim is a guy that fits in exactly with what we’re looking for.”

TYLER STEPHENSON

Position: Cornerback

Ht/Wt: 5-10/160

School: Lancaster

Where he fits: One of the top cornerback prospects in the country, Stephenson is ranked No. 14 nationally by ESPN.com and No. 18 by Rivals.com. Stephenson was named to the Class 4A all-state team as a senior after recording 63 tackles and five interceptions. He’s also a track athlete who finished second in last year’s state championships with a time of 37.67 in the 300-meter hurdles. “Tyler can run,” Briles said. “He has a very engaging personality and is a great athlete who comes from a great family.”

SEAN WATSON

Position: Defensive tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-3/280

School: Panama City (Fla.) Rutherford

Where he fits: After originally committing to Florida Atlantic, Watson was a late signing day pickup for the Bears. A Florida all-state lineman, Watson collected 65 tackles and eight sacks as a senior. He’s rated No. 38 nationally among defensive linemen by Rivals.com. “Sean has great presence, great energy and is very disciplined and hungry with his attitude,” Briles said. “We think he can be a physical player.”

ISAAC WILLIAMS

Position: Running back

Ht/Wt: 6-0/190

School: El Camino (Calif.) College

Where he fits: Williams enrolled at Baylor in January after collecting 209 yards rushing, 120 receiving and 109 on kickoff returns as a sophomore at El Camino College in 2008. He was a top prep player at Los Angeles Locke High School who amassed 1,600 yards rushing in 2006. “Isaac is hungry, determined and focused,” Briles said. “He’s someone who feels like he has something to prove, and I like that. He’s another mature guy who understands that the clock is ticking.”

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